Jerusalem, 17 July 2001

PM Sharon updates President Bush on latest developments in the Middle East
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon today, (Tuesday), 17.7.2001, gave US President George W. Bush an update on the lastest developments in our region in a phone call on the eve of the President’s departure for the G8 summit opening tomorrow in Genoa, Italy.

Prime Minister Sharon briefed President Bush on the results of the latest terror attack in Binyamina and emphasized the need for the free states of the world to create a unified and joint front to make a determined and uncompromising stand against local, regional and global terrorism.

Prime Minister Sharon reiterated the government of Israel’s commitment to the Tenet plan and Mitchell outline, and Israel’s efforts to prevent an escalation. However, the Prime Minister made clear that Israel will not hold negotiations under the pressure of terrorism and violence; The Palestinian Authority and Chairman Arafat must act to completely stop the terrorism, violence and incitement that has continued until today, and is even increasing under the direction, coordination and sponsorship of the Palestinian security apparatus – Force 17, Tanzim and Fatah.

The Prime Minister further informed the President that Israel will continue to invoke its right to self-defence in light of the fact that the Palestinian Authority is not arresting terrorists, and is not acting to prevent terrorist activities from its territories.

Prime Minister Sharon also discussed with President Bush the regional threats of Iranian sponsored, and Syrian supported, terrorism in Lebanon, and the future threats to the stability of the Middle East as a result of the arming of Iraq and Iran with weapons of mass destruction and missiles.

President Bush made clear that the United States is committed to maintaining the stability of the Middle East and will work to curb the trends of intensifying terrorism that constitute a danger to regional and global stability.